Calgary mayor’s race draws attention

Calgary mayor’s race most high-profile in Alberta municipal elections

Municipal elections are being held in Alberta today and the race for the mayor’s chair in Calgary is drawing the most attention.

Naheed Nenshi is seeking his third term, but a victory is far from guaranteed.

Nenshi was the first Muslim mayor of a major North American city when he was first elected in 2010, and his popularity and affable style gave him a national profile.

But a number of polls have shown that the race this time between him and Calgary lawyer Bill Smith is too close to call.

“I have no idea if this election is close. That’s actually the big challenge here. This is an election that is being run in the absence of evidence,” Nenshi said in the final days of the campaign.

He said he always expected it would be a close race, but added this one has been nasty. He shrugs off critics who say he has become arrogant and difficult to work with.

“If I wanted to be universally loved, I would have been a pet groomer. You don’t want to go into politics if you want to be universally loved,” he said.

“You go into politics because you want to try and do what’s right for people every day.”

Smith said Calgarians are frustrated by high taxes, excessive spending by the city and a continued downturn in the energy sector.

Nenshi’s campaign has been avoiding the problems the city is facing, Smith suggested.

“He’s been doing a job of trying to deflect a lot of things since the beginning of his campaign. I’ve been trying to focus on the results of his last seven years,” said Smith.

“I didn’t expect this campaign to get as personal as it has and it wasn’t from our side.”

Pollster Janet Brown says a mayoralty incumbent hasn’t lost in Calgary since 1980.

Another race to watch is for the mayor’s job in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, which includes Fort McMurray. Melissa Blake, who has been mayor since 2004, is not running again.

She was praised for her grace under pressure after a devastating wildfire swept through the city in 2016 and also advocated for more housing and expanded infrastructure when Fort McMurray boomed before the last oil downturn.

In Edmonton, incumbent Don Iveson is expected to handily win a second term as mayor.

— Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter

Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Annual Victoria Hospitals Foundation gala brings in nearly $700,000

Event raises a significant portion of $3.2 million goal for cardiac care campaign

Sooke Philharmonic Orchestra celebrates 20th anniversary

Norman Nelson founded the orchestra in 1997

High winds cancel slew of BC Ferries sailings

Travel to and from Victoria and Vancouver as well as Northern Gulf Islands affected

Three Sooke students awarded scholarships

Ike Barber Transfer Scholarship program awarded annually to undergraduate students

Sooke talk focuses on risk of nuclear war

Discussion and talk held on Nov. 30

VIDEO: Rare comic showing Superman’s 1st appearance to be auctioned

The 1938 comic features Superman hoisting a car over his head

Forecast calls for a snowy Canadian winter

Canadians told to brace for a ‘classic’ Canadian winter with lots of snow

Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip celebrate 70th anniversary

The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh are celebrating their platinum wedding anniversary

Charles Manson, leader of murderous ’60s cult, dead at 83

Charles Manson, whose cult slayings horrified world, dies

Naked man arrested in Nanaimo, provided with pants

Suspect arrested for causing disturbance Nov. 13 near Bowen and Northfield roads

‘An officer and a gentleman’: Const. John Davidson is laid to rest

Thousands attend memorial service for slain Abbotsford Police officer

VIDEO: Coquihalla reopens near Merritt

Detours are available via Hwy. 8 and Hwy. 1

VIDEO: The Last Jedi is going to be the longest ‘Star Wars’ movie yet

Newest movie in the franchise will beat Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week.

Most Read